[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Channel 19 – a Stern venture

If you have been my regular reader, you know my interests in using film for social change. I pointed out at Echoing Green yesterday, and now I like to drag your attention to Channel 19, a community production program (also available online) that produces ‘Video News Magazines” to drive social change. Channel 19 provides a voice for the common people, when mass media can’t/won’t. Currently, Channel 19 is operating from India through six Community Video Units (CVUS), but I see the concept just as good for any country or society that needs a social voice through media!

An obvious next question (that my wife asked when we first talked about it) is how does the videos reach the “mass”. This is indeed a challenge to not only meet the supply side of it, but also the demand side of community videos (who wants to watch community media in India, when the Zee, Sony and Sun TVs flooding the mass with “drooling” reality shows and Saas-Bahu c(rap)onspiracies?) While Ch19.org also hosts all the videos online, the primary distribution is through screening the videos on a regular basis in the slums and villages, creating awareness across the affected society. It may not reach the “mass” but it reaches the locals and perhaps, will reach the district and state next and eventually the mass media. The videos not only highlight a social issue but also present solutions to issues these communities want to or should take action on. It is a tall order to make a meaningful impact, but absolutely a start. So I wholeheartedly support them!

Another thing I am proud of Channel 19 is, it is a Video Volunteers product. And Video Volunteers is a NYU Stern 2007 business plan competition winner!

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